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“Real impact for real citizens of Hampton Roads,” Pharrell joins Hampton Roads community leaders at MLK event as keynote speaker

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Posted at 12:18 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 13:25:30-05

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Hampton Roads' own Pharrell Williams was highlighted as keynote speaker for The Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc. 38th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Awards (Virtual) Event.

The Grammy award-winning musician, producer, and philanthropist was joined by, and honored with, other leaders in the Hampton Roads community.

Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc. presents their community leader awards to individuals or groups that “exemplify service, demonstrate the values modeled by Dr. King, and make significant contributions to the Hampton Roads community.”

Pharrell described the organization as “the nations oldest and largest movement empowering African-Americans.”

He also went on to say that the organization does incredible work across financial wellness, education, employment, health, and housing.

At the event, presidents, directors, CEOs, and superintendents were recognized for their dedication and commitment to Hampton Roads.

Awards were given to the following people: Jeffery Smith, Superintendent of Hampton Public School District; Jennifer Boykin, President & CEO of Newport News Shipbuilding; Charles Henderson Jr. ,President & CEO of Bank of America; Dr. Cynthia Romero, Director, Brock Institute, Eastern Virginia Medical School; Susan Dewey, Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Housing; Bennet Zier, President & CEO, Audacy; Robert M. Blue, President & CEO, Dominion Energy; and Jane P. Batten, President, The Batten Foundation.

Pharrell focused on business in Hampton Roads and how it could be better, more inclusive, and positive. He acknowledged that things have gotten better, but made it clear that this is only the beginning.

"All of this is just actually the beginning it’s just a tiny tiny demonstration of progress," said Pharrell. " Why are these things happening you might ask…well because it’s big business and also it’s good business.